Baby sign language has allowed you to enter the world of your little one way earlier than the rest. As a parent or caregiver you are extra proud of seeing baby express his needs and wants as early as three months old. Baby milestones are precious and worthy of preservation. Just like the first lock of hair her first time signing milk or the moment you discover baby can form phrases by combining words needs to be recorded for posterity or at least to be shared with those we love who are far away.
Last year we invited our fans to participate in the 2013 baby sign language video casting call. We received numerous videos displaying multiple levels of achievement. From a little one signing milk for the first time to Amelie who kept delighting us by signing every toy mom pulled out of the boat.
It was a fun project and one that rewarded us greatly with the motivation to keep sharing and encouraging families to incorporate baby sign language as a tool to better understand the needs and wants of their little ones. As we reviewed every submission of baby sign language videos we learned that some techniques work better than others when it comes to recording great baby videos with your phone.
Take a moment to read our post we know it will make a huge difference on the quality of videos you take and share as your little one amazes you and your family with endless charm and surprising achievements.
Before I set out to write this post I emailed mommy friends, speech pathologists, child videographers and YouTube pros and asked them to give us a few tips to help you capture the magic of non-verbal communication. Not all tips apply to all babies and toddlers; in fact we suggest you pick one or two that best fit your child’s developmental stage and roll with it.
Your Trusty Phone Camera
Keep your phone charged and at arms-reach. With little ones impromptu displays of discovery and achievement are the norm. This is particularly important for baby’s first sign. For early starters this can happen as early as three months.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have received videos from friends where baby is just a small dot in the horizon. Often I have to take their word at face value when they narrate their baby’s new milestone, as I am unable to see a thing. Make baby the center stage of the video. Focus on their upper body, hands and face. Either raise baby to eye level for you or get down on your knees so you can be at baby’s level as you film.
Be an Encourager
If you catch baby in a positive mood and very enthusiastic about signing stop what you are doing and engage with them. Celebrate their achievement verbally and share the video with them on the spot. This is particularly important with toddlers. Toddlers love to be the star
Recruit a Helper
Not long ago I was having a cup of coffee with a friend who now has school-aged kiddos. She mentioned how she regretted having so few photos or videos of her babies with her at their side. Don’t miss out on the memories. Go beyond the impromptu videos and ask a friend or a relative to record you and baby as you discover and learn together.
Flashcards, Books & Figurines & Technology
One of our favorite ways to engage in learning is by using props. It is adorable to see how a little one responds to an image or an object with a sign. By using props along with a verbal reminder you help create visual associations expediting association and response and resulting in wonderful videos. When you are short on multidimensional props consider using technology; your tablet, computer or any or kid friendly gadgets with image feeds. When you use props you can capture the best possible video by making yourself part of the recording. If a helper is not handy consider using a mini-tripod. A mini tripod allows for the least invasive way of capturing a natural learning moment.
My friend Chara has been working on several animal signs. Her prop of choice is the Wild Animals Touch & Feel Book. It is just adorable to see how baby signs as Chara turns each page. Another favorite of the Baby Sign Language team is using figurines and models. Set a blanket on the floor place the figurines in a colorful container and let baby pull a random object while you model the sign.
Go on a Field Trip
While models and images are wonderful the best baby sign language videos come about when baby is engaged in real life situations. A visit to the garden, a park or a zoo provides ample opportunities to record baby signs.
Create a Mini-Studio
If your family is separated by distance it is extra important that you capture memorable and sharable videos. These images along with Skype have become for many the main way in which grandparents and other relatives get to share in the progress. Scout around the house for a spot with great light and minimal clutter. Decorate it simply which props that reflect the interests of your child and keep it ready for those moments when baby’s disposition and willingness to engage in learning is at its best. If you have special outfits keep them handy and clean to use during your studio recording sessions.
Pick your favorite app to edit your video and add subtitles. The goal is to convey clarity and create a memory worthy of sharing. Subtitles help your viewer know which sign baby is demonstrating.
Pick a selection of signs that match your baby’s interest or stage in life. From food items to toys or animals series are a great way to share your little one’s achievements. Imagine how wonderful it is to share a video titled: Miranda Signs ALL Farm Animals!
Break a Record
Do you have a toddler who is a super learner? Make it your goal to add new signs to their repertoire and create a record-breaking video. In addition to a great family memory you stand a good chance of having something awesome that could possibly launch your little one into viral stardom. What a sweet thing to add to their digital scrapbook!
Help Other Moms & Dads
Sharing your videos of baby signing serves as a great encouragement for new moms and dads. The journey of parenthood can be scary. By watching the way others have engaged with their little ones we can provide assurance and encouragement to many as they discover the joys of parenthood.
Stay tuned-Later this week I will reveal our 2014 Baby Sign Language Video Casting Call with Thousands of Dollars in Prizes